blue grass publishing » Technology Intergration Fri, 06 Feb 2015 03:06:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tablet Computers: The ultimate educational tool Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:34:57 +0000 Will tablet computers eventually render our trusty laptops and desktops obsolete when it comes to learning? The answer is probably. And sooner than you might think.

Now that smart phones have well and truly taken hold, a large proportion of the population in the developed world is already up to speed with their functionality and features.

Tablet computers work in a similar way, which means there’s little problem with anyone, no matter what their age, simply picking one up and completing all manner of tasks and research traditionally reserved for the desktop or laptop. This makes them ideal for use in education of all kinds and for all ages.

Lightweight, quick to respond and engaging, tablet computers are as appealing to a class full of infants as they are to a 40-year old who has decided to retrain as a web developer via MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), in his home office. And their versatility doesn’t stop there. The humble textbook still has its place and has served many a generation very well throughout the ages. If you’d like to learn all of the ways technology can enhance education, visit this website.

But there are some subject areas and topics that are simply better taught and experienced with the help of tablet computers. Music lessons come to life when you can actually hear what you’re studying and follow the sheet music at the same time. Historic political speeches, such as that of Martin Luther King, are better understood when you can actually watch a video of it as opposed to simply seeing it on a page. Tablet computers make learning come to life.

For older brains, which tend to be less absorbent than younger ones, learning via MOOC can be done in a way that suits their particular educational needs. Whether you’re learning on the commute, or in your own home, you can pause, replay and make notes to help you recall information.

Prices might still be at the less affordable end of the spectrum for schools and colleges, but there are leasing options available. And with brands upping the competition with new models all the time, prices are steadily being driven down.

Practical, engaging and portable, tablet computers are excellent tools for learning, whether you’re a teenager studying your socks off for a place at university or an interested adult who has decided to learn a new subject via MOOC.


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Your Satellite TV and Internet Provider: Factors You Need To Consider Fri, 08 Aug 2014 08:41:56 +0000 You’ve thought about satellite TV for a while now, but you’re not sure whether it’s the right move for you. There are some very cool things about satellite that include variety in TV packages, the ability to buy Internet access through the satellite provider, and the fact that you can buy the same service almost regardless of where you happen to live – so moving to a different part of the country (or going on an extended vacation) doesn’t mean the end of your favorite programming. 

Satellite TV and Internet ProviderStill, satellite companies have their own issues, and they often try to sell you on the “more is better” concept. This isn’t always the best way to buy satellite services though. Here’s what you should keep in mind when considering a service provider.

Channel Packages

Satellite service providers are really good at selling you on service packages that include 100+ channels, including movie channels, sports channels, and of course the usual cable channels. Now, it’s not like cable companies don’t do the same thing, but satellite providers almost always have more channel options than any cable provider.

It makes sense if you think about it. The satellite service provider can push channels from all over the world at a very low cost. Cable providers are much more constrained by supply and demand metrics. If there’s no Hispanic community, for example, a cable service provider won’t want to offer Hispanic-centered programming. On the other hand, the satellite service provider can include Hispanic-oriented programming without increasing the overall pricing of its packages.

This is where satellite providers try to sell you on the idea that “more is better.” But is it? Consider that you only have a limited number of hours in the day to watch TV. At some point, you literally run out of time.

So, in most cases, you’re only going to watch a small fraction of the channels you’re paying for. As channel variety increases, you become increasingly desensitized to the price you’re paying. When you have over 1,000 channels to choose from, it almost feels like you’re getting “free” TV, even when you’re paying $100 a month for service. 

Assess Your Needs

Before you agree to any service package, sit down and assess your real need for TV. How much TV do you watch now? What channels do you enjoy, and are you willing to commit to watching more channels? Be honest with yourself.

In most cases, it just doesn’t make sense to inflate your TV watching habits just to justify a “good deal” from the satellite service provider. In fact, the service provider is hoping that you’ll take their special promotional offer, watch a few sports or movie channels, and ease into the idea that you must have all of these channels. The reality is you probably don’t.

Upload and Download Speeds For Internet

If satellite service providers only offered TV service, they would have a killer offer and compete very well with cable providers. But TV is only the tip of the iceberg. Most satellite service providers also offer Internet service. How does the service compare with traditional broadband? Well, if you sign up with a company like, what you’ll find is that most of these providers can offer you up to 15Mbps download speeds. But download speeds aren’t the whole story.

Ask about upload speeds too. What you’ll find is that upload speeds pale in comparison. That’s OK if you don’t plan on doing a lot of gaming, but if you’re a gamer then you’re probably going to be a bit disappointed with the service. If, however, you’re like most people and you primarily use the Internet for surfing the web, checking email, and watching videos online, you should be fine with the speeds your provider offers.

Leona Powers is a technology enthusiast. She is keen to help people make the best decisions for their everyday technological needs.

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Tech Trends in Higher Education Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:13:27 +0000 The overarching technological trends in higher education and degree programs all pertain to one big idea: Access. Learners want access to coursework for a variety of reasons. Some simply want to test the academic waters while others want a document showing that they’ve achieved something. The one element that all of these learners have in common is that they now have the ability to reach out and participate in open access courses, which were devised with the modern student in mind.
A Step in the Right Direction
One of the bigger events in the history of open access courses was iTunes U. This section of iTunes provided users with downloadable recordings of college lectures from campuses all across the globe, including institutions in Europe and Asia. While the audio or video quality was sometimes a bit shaky, the fact that it was created opened the floodgates for more innovation in the open access market of academia.

The problem with iTunes U, however, was the lack of accountability. How would anyone be able to know if they had learned the material properly if they had no measure of success or feedback from educated professionals? Students could occasionally find the syllabus for courses, but they could not turn in coursework or email professors with questions. This aspect of iTunes U was later corrected by a new advancement in education, the Massive Open Online Course.

Structuring the New Classroom

Perhaps the biggest trend in higher education today is the advent of Massive Open Online Courses. While iTunes offers its iTunes U video and audio lectures for free, sites like Coursera and Udacity provide entire course content alongside an actual syllabus and professors who grade your work. In addition to having professors on hand, MOOC’s also provided learners with discussion groups and online forums to interact with other students in the course as well as the professors. These forums also allowed professors to assign “peer evaluation” work, in which a student was able to submit work to other students for critical feedback before submission to the course itself.

With topics ranging from Video Games and Learning to Experimental Genome Science, these courses provide dedicated learners the opportunity to follow a learning framework with real assignments and exams. Several of the courses even offer certificates of completion for students who perform well.

MOOC’s have become so popular and, in some cases, so well-defined that several universities have considered the possibility of applying MOOC credits to actual course credit. In the coming years, you could be enrolling for free courses online that would be applicable to a legitimate degree. MOOC’s have provided an opportunity for avid learners of all walks of life to access and participate in a revolutionary way of learning that opens the doors to greater things.

Watching the Clouds
In addition to MOOC’s and open access course materials, the next big trend in education is cloud storage. Cloud storage, which allows users to store and share information in online “storage units” has become popular as another means of providing open access to information. With cloud storage, a student can instantly share an assignment with another student. A professor can share a lecture with students remotely. Alongside MOOC’s, cloud storage has become a huge factor in the distribution of education, with many advances on the horizon.

The field of academia has changed to accommodate more tech savvy students.

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Potential Size of the Internet and its Effect on the Marketplace Mon, 16 Jun 2014 20:55:01 +0000 The Internet is a tool used by hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people across the globe every day for a variety of activities from sending e-mail to making purchases to researching stock market trends to finding out why their puppy has hiccups.


It is used on desktop computers, laptops, iPads, video game systems, televisions and smartphones. People connect to it with dial-up modems, broadband connections (cable and DSL modems), and Wi-Fi (wireless Internet access via radio waves). Eight-year-olds are using the Internet in school for educational tasks and 80 year olds are using it to research their family trees.

A Global Reach
With regard to coverage area, the Internet has almost entirely blanketed the globe to the point where airlines like Delta, American and United are even offering wireless access to passengers on intercontinental flights and in international airspace.


The only places you might not be able to get high speed Internet access would be on top of Mount Everest or at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Not literally, of course, but it seems like only the most remote places are excluded from the Internet’s reach.


No matter who is using the Internet, what they are connecting to it with, where they are connecting from, and why they are connected — the Internet has become an integral part of the daily lives of a large portion of the world’s population, almost to the point where some people exhibit signs commonly associated with withdrawal from addictive drugs when they cannot access the Internet.


We are dependent upon it and take it for granted, but how big is it? An even more compelling question is how does the unparalleled reach of the Internet impact a company’s online marketplace?

A Giant Footprint
The Internet is huge. Gigantic. Enormous. It truly is the “galactic network” envisioned in the early 1960s by MIT’s J.C.R. Licklider when he penned a series of memos theorizing the concept of an interconnected cluster of computers through which people in a variety of locations could communicate with each other and share information and access programs.


The Internet as we know it today wasn’t established until the early 1990s, so it has grown into a global connectivity juggernaut in just a couple of decades.


Online marketers are able to reach audiences that are exponentially larger than those they reached using methods such as cold-calling, mass mail campaigns, television advertisements, billboards and hand-distributed flyers.


Geographically restricted companies don’t need to rely on the potential prospects within their physical boundaries or local word-of-mouth referrals to drum up business because they can reach people on the other side of the planet, and do so in ways that seem almost effortless compared with former marketing tactics.


The sky truly is the limit when it comes to marketing strategies and campaigns in modern society, because there are literally no borders or boundaries for companies when it comes to marketing their brand, products, and services. Wherever the Internet can reach, a company can be there, also.


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5 Apps College Students Must Have Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:55:46 +0000 Mobile or tablet apps are a way of life. That includes student life.
These days, going to college means a lot more than just registering for classes and turning in assignments. Whether you’re in school now or about to start college for the first time, you’ll want to download the best apps onto your smartphone or tablet to help you stay focused, learn better and keep track of your activities.

With thousands of apps available for all of the major devices ranging from creative games to top-of-the-line planners, finding the right apps for college can be a bit overwhelming. Here are five essential apps that will help you make the most of your college experience.
Going to Class
What happens when you get to class and realize you’ve forgotten a crucial essay? Fortunately, you have Dropbox, and you can quickly email a copy of your paper directly from your phone to your professor’s inbox. Dropbox, developed by Dropbox, Inc., allows you to sync all of your devices together so that you always have the files you’ve uploaded at your disposal. You can download the free version and get 2 gigs of space, or you can upgrade if you need more.

Daily Planner
Keeping up with your classes and social events can be frustrating. Available through the Google Play Store, Schedule Planner by Intersog offers an incredible way to manage your daily life with interactive calendars and helpful graphs to chart your progress. The pro version is $3.99, but you can still get lots of helpful features from the free version as well.

Budget Helper
Many college kids struggle to keep up with their finances during school just because there’s so much going on. Just like in real life.


Many students have turned to renting online textbooks to help save money while attending classes. Find a company that offers an app to download. The CourseSmart mobile app, for instance is available on iPad, Kindle and Android. Once you download the app you will be able to rent your textbooks much cheaper than buying them along with having access to all your etextbooks in one convenient location.

Social Butterfly
From holiday bashes to personal achievements, you’ll want to keep track of all of your social endeavors, which are arguably as important as all those pesky math classes you have to take. When you want to set goals and share them with your friends, check out the free Everest app available on iOS. You can enter in dreams and set steps to achieve them, then share these dreams with like-minded souls. From climbing mountains to writing your first novel, Everest helps make these extraordinary tasks both achievable and rewarding.


You’ll probably want some music now and then to soothe your mind and relax as you cram for that midterm essay exam. Available for free on both Apple and Android devices, Songza by Songza Media, Inc. takes listening to music to a whole new level. You can choose by genre and artist as with traditional music apps, but you can also browse by activity and mood. The app will even help you figure out what you want to hear and develop a customized playlist by asking some amusing questions about your preferences.

With so many assignments to keep up with, parties to plan and events to attend, you’ll be glad you had an extra hand when it comes to keeping everything together. As a 21st century college student, you have access to a wide range of helpful technologies, and you’ll perform much better with this arsenal of must-have apps at your disposal.

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